Does Boxing Build Muscle? Here Is The Answer!

We see boxers who have big muscles all the time in magazines but is boxing the only reason for these great physiques? Or do they lift weights or do other resistance training? And can you really build an amazing body with boxing? If you are wondering the answers to these questions continue reading!

boxing and muscle building

With that being said, there is also one more thing to consider and this one is generally overlooked. And this is “is boxing a short term or long term thing”. This also should be taken into consideration because one is totally useless.

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Firstly, if you damage your muscle fibers in any way shape or form, considering that you eat in a surplus, you will build muscle. And yes, boxing training damages muscle fibers. Right now you might be thinking alright then I can build muscle with boxing and you are tempted to start looking for a boxing gym. But hold on a minute or two as there are definitely more things to consider. If you don’t have enough knowledge about it you might not achieve your physique goals.

As some of you already know a lot of boxers don’t just do classic boxing routines (mitt drills, jumping rope, etc.). Some of them do plyometric exercises some lift weights…

These strength training types are actually preferred methods to build big muscles by bodybuilders. So you must keep in mind that there can be various other strength regimens which boxers might do and boxing might not be solely the reason for that incredible physique.

Which Boxing Training Types are Effective for Building Muscle?

With that being said there are a lot of different types of boxing workouts which you can do. And definitely, not all boxing training types are equal. Some help you increase the size of muscle fibers thus these are more effective and obviously, these help with more muscle growth.

While punching abs need to stay intact in order to punch effectively. Back muscles, triceps are also involved and these muscles face resistance during punching so it is fair to say that punching builds muscle in a lot of different body parts and this results in effective all-around physical improvement.

Many of you asked that “can I have big guns?”. Considering my experiences, you can definitely build solid arm muscle and have bigger biceps with boxing training.

Heavy Bag: Considering all of these there is no surprise that heavy bag training should be prioritized in order to build more muscle as it provides more resistance than any other boxing training type. You can even increase the resistance by filling the bag more. On the other hand, you can’t go really hard with free standing ones as these can just fall down and make a mess or it can swing more than it should and because of that, there will not be constant tension on your muscles.

So hanging ones are preferred for muscle building over free standing punching bags. These don’t contract muscles a lot but still, this training is still way more effective than the others.

Focus Mitts: Actually you can’t go hard with punch mitts either but this one has an advantage. You can do different types of punches and thanks to the variation the muscle improvement will be more balanced.

is boxing effective for building muscle mass

Speed Bag: Speed bag is mostly used for increasing hand speed and having important habits for boxing however using it definitely improves arm and shoulder muscles. It does not have a huge impact as it only provides a little resistance however the built muscles will be dense and this is the reason why these stay for a long time.

However, don’t discourage because of the fact that muscle building benefits of speed bag are limited. Remember that just like any other boxing workout speed bag benefits you in other ways like improving cardio, punching skills…

Reflex Bags, Double End Bag…: You don’t even exert much force during these training types. With that being said, you can actually build razor sharp abs with a couple of months training with those as you need to punch in a way that these bags swing right. When this is the case, the abs are contracted throughout the session.

As a side note, people generally forget that boxing is also a form of cardio. And burnt calories mostly spent on moving fast, dodging, etc.

Short and Long Term

Do you have short term goals?

I have been working out with free weights, machines for four years and let me tell you, you need to know what your goal is before you do any type of workout. Because even though you try everything you may not see any significant improvement for a really long time and it is pretty discouraging.

With that being said, boxing provides the results fast if you don’t have much muscle mass or if it is the first time you punch. Because it will surprise your muscles in an intense way. With that being said, as I discussed it above comparing it to lifting weights the resistance is just little and you really can’t increase it much. And considering that you are natural, strength gains equal to muscle gains so it will not change much.

So boxing should be just a short term for everyone who plans to build muscle.

If you have been lifting weights for a while, you can start doing boxing training every five, six months to surprise your muscles. Thus, the muscle fibers are more susceptible to improvement after that. Going systematically here is the way.

Also, consider taking supplements like protein powder, creatine in order to maximize your results. Boxing requires you to spend a lot of calories so there is no harm in investing a good pre-workout shake which has solid caffeine amount.boxing is great for training abs and triceps

But you should keep in mind that people, who are not boxers and do boxing, are generally people who want to get in shape. You may ask this is not the same thing with building muscle. I would say partly. People go to these boxercise classes mostly for losing a couple of inches from their waist.

Are Muscles Necessary for Boxing?

By the way, more muscle mass does not equal more punching power. This is why if you are a boxer you need to think twice before you do the incline barbell bench press and pump blood into muscle cells.


When you have more muscle you will also have more water weight. So what does that actually mean? You will move slower. Even though you have more power it does not equal to punching power as speed also plays a huge role in this. So this does not improve the knock out chances nor punching power. What boxers (or any other martial artist who wants to improve punching) need to have is that a quite toned body and definitely not excessive muscle mass which can slow him/her down.

Conclusive Thoughts

So it can be concluded that boxing is not the way to go if your sole purpose is to build big muscles. However, if you are at the beginning stages of your bodybuilding journey, want to build denser muscles, improve cardio or try out different routines, boxing workouts can be preferred. If that is you, you can start by choosing a pair of heavy bag gloves and start pounding a bag which is my preference for building muscle and got good results. And the awesome thing is that you don’t even need to go to a boxing gym as it can be found in almost any gym! However, considering everything the choice is up to your preference. After evaluating what you need and can you really benefit from it etc., you can make the decision of whether you should build muscle with boxing or not.

Image Courtesy of Michael Evans and Chris Turner via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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